Vietnam pursues a consistent policy of respecting and ensuring people's freedom to belief and religion as well as the equality among religions, while promoting cultural and moral values and resources of religions for the country’s development, stated Deputy Prime Minister Lê Minh Khái.
Deputy Prime Minister Lê Minh Khái (R) receives Franklin Graham, President and CEO of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and President of international relief organisation Samaritan’ Purse in Hanoi on March 1
Khái made the statement while receiving Franklin Graham, President and CEO of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and President of the international relief organisation Samaritan’ Purse in Hanoi on March 1.
Welcoming preacher Graham to visit Vietnam for the second time after more than five years, Khai told the guest about COVID-19 prevention and control efforts in Vietnam, and highlighted contributions of religions, including the Protestantism.
After the pandemic, along with economic recovery, belief and religious activities have resumed and become even more bustling, he said.
The Deputy PM affirmed that Vietnam is a country with a long-lasting cultural tradition and a nation of diverse ethnic groups and religions. The majority of Vietnamese people (95% of the population) are followers of beliefs and religions.
The State of Vietnam has recognised and issued licences to 43 organisations of 16 religions with 26.5 million followers, accounting for 27% of the country’s total population.
Religions with a large number of followers include Buddhism, Catholicism, Hoa Hao Buddhism, Protestantism, and Cao Dai.
Currently, Vietnam has over 1.2 million Protestants in 100 organisations in all cities and provinces nationwide, mostly in Ho Chi Minh City.
Khái underlined that Vietnam’s Constitution 2013 affirmed that the right to belief and religious freedom is a fundamental right of people. Particularly, the adoption of the Law on Belief and Religion 2016 created a firm legal framework for the protection of such a right.
In Vietnam, there is no religious conflict, he said, stressing that all religions live in harmony, and religious followers actively engage in national construction and development, he said.
Deputy PM Khái said he hopes that as the President and CEO of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Graham will make contributions to promoting the engagement of Protestants in both secular life and religious activities in Vietnam.
He recommended that Graham and his entourage experience the reality of the diverse belief and religious life in Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City in particular.
He said he hopes through his exploration, Graham will contribute his voice to promote the image of a beautiful and hospitable nation of Vietnam with diverse religions and belief and religious freedom to the government and people of the US and around the world, giving the US Department of State a better insight into Vietnam and remove the country from its list of countries in need of special religious supervision.
The Vietnamese official also thanked the Samaritan’s Purse for supporting the construction of clean water and rural sanitation works in Vietnam and assisting local needy children. He said he hopes Graham will continue to conduct more such practical activities in the future.
For his part, Graham said he believes that the Vietnamese economy will further thrive in the future after overcoming COVID-19.
He showed his delight to experience the religious freedom in Vietnam, and thanked the Vietnamese Government for creating favourable conditions for him to conduct activities in the country.
He pledged that after returning to the US, he will act as an ambassador for Vietnam, and be pleased to share with US politicians and people the religious freedom that he has felt in Vietnam./.